Latter-day Saint heroes in the battle against COVID-19
At the forefront of our battle against the widespread coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are the medical workers and other frontliners. Unlike many of us, these essential workers do not have the luxury of staying at home to protect themselves from this highly contagious disease. Aside from having to expose themselves to great risk every day, they grapple with lost time with their family members as they labor for long hours in their respective workplaces; some even choosing to live separately from their families in fear of transmitting the disease to them.
Among these ‘modern-day heroes’ are several of our brothers and sisters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite the inevitable challenges they face, their faith in Jesus Christ and love for their fellowmen, among many other things, drive them to do what they do.
Let us meet one of them.
Camilla Balota, Paraňaque Philippines Stake
Not all medical frontliners are in big, fancy hospitals. Some work for their respective local government units, playing a very crucial role in combatting this pandemic in the grassroots.
Sister Camilla Joan Balota, is a public health nurse working with the City Government of Parañaque assigned to the Silverio Health Center. Along with other healthcare personnel and some volunteer barangay health workers, she carries out her usual medical duties such as monitoring and dispensing maintenance medicines to patients with non-communicable diseases and attending to those in need of first aid treatment.
During this pandemic, many of the patients they deal with are individuals suspected to have contracted the virus, those with high chances of coronavirus infection, and those who have been confirmed as COVID-19 cases.
“Because we are not sure if they are infected with [COVID-19] or not, we attend to them in an open but covered space outside the center, get the necessary details of their complaints, contact numbers, and refer them to the doctor for appropriate action and medication. We [also] contact and monitor them through phone,” Camilla said.
According to her, patients showing mild to moderate symptoms who do not respond to any of their calls and messages receive actual home visits from their team and get assessed for homecare guidelines compliance. But for those experiencing severe symptoms, they are recommended to undergo hospital admission.
Just like every other frontliner, Sister Camilla experiences a great deal of anxiety and fear.
“I think it is normal to have apprehensions because it is a new virus and little is known about it. So, we have become anxious and afraid that we might catch the virus and we might be responsible for carrying [it] to our families since there is no housing facility.”
But as a woman of faith, she knows she is in good hands.
“I am also reminded of the Come Follow Me lessons and [I] realized that the Lord has been helping me always, so who am I to turn His children down who need proper care and monitoring so they can move on the road to physical recovery?”
She added, “[These] lessons also teach us to magnify our callings, so I know [that] with the Lord’s help, I can magnify my work as a healthcare provider and come under His protective power.”
Every day, before going to work, Camilla doesn’t forget to get on her knees to pray to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She said that by doing this, she receives “guidance and direction on how to help [her] patients with their health conditions” as well as “protection from the illness all around [her] so [she] can serve effectively.”
Aside from anxiety and fear, Camilla also has to endure some physical challenges. When the enhanced community quarantine was implemented all over Luzon, public transportation operations were halted, thus leaving her with no choice but to walk three kilometers to go to work.
“Now, there are more times when I can get a ride, but sometimes I still have to walk,” she said.
In addition to that, she finds it challenging whenever their patients refuse to comply and cooperate with the protocols they set for them.
However, despite these challenges, Camilla never fails to look at the bright side of things.
“It is so inspiring to have patients who follow the proper home care guidelines and they recover, and the disease does not progress.”
When asked about her happiest moments, she recalled, “My happiest moments were the times our persons under monitoring (PUMs) and persons under investigation (PUIs) would finish their 14-day home quarantine and COVID-19 confirmed cases positive results would be converted to negative results because most of them suffered discrimination from their neighbors.”
According to Camilla, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in these times has brought her “great comfort and peace.” She said that whenever fear and uncertainty take over, she prays, turns to the scriptures, and ponders on Come Follow Me lessons to ease her anxiety.
“[Being a Latter-day Saint] helps me look forward to each new day with renewed and strengthened faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a new hope that He is just by our side, helping us overcome this destructive COVID-19. This will come to pass in the Lord’s own due time,” she said.
When Jesus Christ atoned for us, He did something we cannot do for ourselves. Frontliners like Camilla are known for doing something similar.
“Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, bailed every one of us out of physical death [so] we can be saved from the awful effects of sin if we stay within the covenant path and we become spiritually healthy. In the same way, our patients need our help for directions and instructions so they can be freed from the disease. If they follow these homecare guidelines, they can be restored to health.”
Furthermore, Camilla invites everyone to make “a conscious effort” to take care of our health. By diligently doing so, she says, “God will bless our efforts and protect us from harm.”
“Let us have great faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We must not forget to take good care of ourselves and with God’s help, we can come out winners of this pandemic,” she added. ◼︎